Here at First, we’ve been taking advantage of the quarantine to dive into our hobbies — between working from home and Netflix binges, of course. So far, we’ve been experimenting with some awesome recipes, fine-tuning our gardening skills, and getting ahead on some reading. After all, there’s nothing that can lift your mind out of the chaos of a pandemic like a good book.
Some of us are choosing to get lost in a murder mystery, others are swooning over a good romance, and there are some that are learning new things about ourselves and what it means to be a human. Everyone’s got a different preferred poison, so we’re sure there’s something on this list that’ll peak your interest. Scroll down for some of our quarantine book picks!
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My first pick for a quarantine read was recommended to me by a friend. This book is a coming-of-age story about a less-than-average girl who lives alone in a marsh, appropriately called “marsh girl.” Shunned by society, rumors circulate about this marsh girl and an intense murder mystery unfolds. Where the Crawdads Sing helped remind me of the solace we can seek in the natural world and gave me a different perspective about what we really need as human beings. You won’t be able to put it down.
Buy it here: $9.59, Amazon
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
From our head of editorial, Lili Zarghami: “This book is such a fun distraction from the current state of affairs. It revolves around a group of friends who’ve known each other for decades and live in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn raising their teenage kids. The beauty and complications of knowing your spouses and friends that long as well as seeing your kids getting ready to take over the world make the characters feel so familiar. It’s easy to lose myself in the story.”
Buy it here: $7, Amazon
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
If quarantine has you thinking deeply and existentially, let The Four Agreements be your path back to peace, as it has been for me. This guide to life reflects the philosophies of the Toltec people of Mexico and serves as practical advice for achieving personal freedom in four simple, actionable steps. The code of conduct outlined in this book will help you cultivate personal power rooted deeply in truth and love, which I’m finding extremely helpful for my state of mind and relationships during quarantine.
Buy it here: $6.48, Amazon
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Richardson family lives a wealthy and comfortable life, but when a single mother her teenage daughter move to the area, the lives of these families will merge in ways that challenge them both.
From our director of operations, Vicki Laemmel: “Little Fires Everywhere is a page turner! Being a teenager in the late 90s, I could really relate to the different characters and their desire to fit in with high school pressures and come of age. This book is great for your next book club, or if you are looking for a dramatic, quick read.”
Buy it here: $6.87, Amazon
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Red, White, and Royal Blue is a romance novel unlike any you’ve ever read.
From our senior editor, Jess Catcher: “This super sweet romance starts with a bang when Alex (son of the US president) crashes into Prince Henry (second in line for the British throne) at a shindig. Alex claims it was a total accident, but it still ruins a cake and causes countless headlines to spread about a feud between the two young men (which is only sort of true and one-sided on Alex’s part). They forge a fake friendship to smooth things over with their families and the media, but end up realizing they were really only fooling themselves about how they feel. Expect quirky banter and saucy emails — and to become just as smitten with Alex and Henry as they do with each other.”
Buy it here: $10.29, Amazon
This Is Big by Marisa Meltzer
Journalist Marisa Meltzer came upon an obituary for Jean Nidetch, the Queens, New York housewife who founded Weight Watchers in 1963, which inspired This is Big.
Also from Jess: “You might assume journalist Marisa Meltzer’s in-depth look at Weight Watchers and its founder, Jean Nidetch, would be more of an attack on the weight loss company’s history. Instead, Meltzer weaves her own story of lifelong yo-yo dieting and pressures to lose weight (which started for her as a child at just 5) with Nidetch’s in such a compelling manner that makes you relate to both women in ways you didn’t expect. Meltzer also writes with a voice that feels like you’re chatting with one of your best friends, cracking jokes and digging into all the emotions you’d usually hide from others who aren’t as close to you.”
Buy it here: $24.16, Amazon
Evvie Drake Starts Over
Evvie Drake Starts Over is a rebirth tale about the recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake. Nothing seems to lift her out of her funk until she meets Dean Tenney, a friend of a friend whom she agrees to let stay at the back of her house.
From our commerce editor, Elizabeth Nelson: “I read Evvie Drake Starts Over right before the quarantine started, when I was smack in the middle of moving, starting a new job, and dealing with a family member’s health crisis (not corona-related, thank goodness!). Cracking open that book was my daily escape — Evvie, Andy, and Dean felt like friends, and I was wholly invested in what they were going through. It’s a good old-fashioned rom-com, in book form instead of a movie. Also, reading it took me back to our family vacation in Maine last summer, when we ate lobster rolls and dipped our toes in the icy ocean. Since we don’t know when we’ll get out of town again, reading about scenic places is the next best thing! “
Buy it here: $12.99, Amazon
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